You just graduated from college or technical school and you’re happy your schooling is behind you. Think again, as building and developing a successful career not only begins with education, but is a continuing project.
That was the recent results of a survey of over 425 Human Resource Managers and Business Executives. Acquiring new skills, expanding abilities and learning new information along with updating current abilities, they concluded, was the best approach to career development. With this type of proactive career development the result will be career progress and overall career success.
As you continue your education your first attempt should be to build marketable talents to match career opportunities. As you acquire more experience and you overall talents cover all aspects of your current career your next focus should be on learning and acquiring new skills.
These new skills should prepare you to move to the next level or to qualify you for other career opportunities. Since many workers today will change careers several times, either voluntarily, or through changing technology you must be alert to the changing landscape.
Coming in a close second as the best way to advance your career is to build a career network. Having a career network is one thing but to really make it work you have to continually update it. Keep in touch with former teachers and co-workers. Provide them with information about the progress of your career and offer to help them in their career planning and progress.
Building an effective career network takes work and attention. It’s much more than exchanging Christmas cards. An occasional lunch, asking career related questions and celebrating a promotion of someone in your network will go a long way to keeping your network involved in your career development.
Taking on challenging and high-profile assignments comes in third in the survey. The group also added that career advancement will come from taking on more mundane assignments like outside civic and charitable efforts.
A surprising fourth in the survey identified the importance of discussing and communicating your career goals with your supervisor. Not once a year but much more frequently, surly every time you master a new skill or complete a course or a program of self-study. If you can’t progress farther in your current department, it always pays to have a supervisor looking for opportunities for you in other areas of the company.
In the overall survey of career development and overall career success, acquiring new and updating our skills, abilities and knowledge through ongoing education beat performing the job in an exemplary manner by over 3 to 1. This does not mean that you should overlook doing you job to the best of your ability but rather not to ignore the importance of ongoing education.
So the conclusion is clear, to move ahead in your career, continuing education and learning is the key to career development and career progress.